Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Busch Gardens

Ah ba-humbug. My initial idea had been to accompany this post with photos, but as you might figure it is difficult for me to keep reams of them straight. I will learn to do this someday! But first I have to come up with some kind of labeling scheme so that I can be certain of what I am posting. In the meantime though, I guess I’ll stick with what I know and write, write, write. So enjoy a (relatively) quick summary of our entertaining and educational trip to Williamsburg Virginia.

We set sail for (ah ok drove to, although that might be an apt metaphor given the amount of rain we encountered on the way) this historic Virginia town on Wednesday at 12 PM, a couple hours later than intended but after some much-needed sleep. Mostly things were sunny, but when we did enter those two or three downpours I stayed quiet so that she could concentrate on keeping us whole. We popped out of the other end of the tube around 3:30, arriving at the fairly decent Courtyard by Marriott, Busch Gardens Area located at 470 McLaws Circle and within a mile of that iconic theme park. You’ll notice that of late I’ve been staying in Marriott properties, because I’m trying to stack up rewards points. They say I’m only 9 nights away from Silver status, but if I understand correctly you only get one night for every three.

Bags down and a little more rested, we schlepped off through the horse-poop-filled streets of colonial Williamsburg. Unfortunately by this time, all of the houses and such were closed, but just smelling the smells was enough to conjure up a feeling of what life might have been like there. And I got firsthand experience of what life could have been like if I were to be punished for being bad, as she good-naturedly placed my head inside of a stockade, (guillotine?) and took a hilarious photo. This device forces you to sit on your knees and makes the head nearly immobile. It’s brutality, made real. That bit of silliness done, we strolled by houses noticing a prominent name of Bruton (this guy had a Parrish church and a house apparently).

That trip out was relatively short, though we still logged at least two miles of walking. This added to the three miles or so we’d traversed the previous day leaving and returning to the car for the fireworks display (which was also fun as we snagged good seats that gave me an unusual sound experience). Anyhow, needless to say we got our exercise in this week.

Off to Cracker Barrel for dinner, where our inexperienced server neglected to provide the biscuits we had requested. I was ok though, as I greedily consumed my meatloaf, Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, real lemonade, and later, a piece of delicious chocolate cake.

After that kind of start, it was surprising that we actually rose earlier than expected for the trip to Jamestown Settlement, a fascinating replica of the first established colony there. Afraid of both the rain and crowds, we arrived as it opened at 9. I think this contributed significantly to my great time learning there.

As we left the cool of the visitor center for the nearly dripping moisture beyond, I immediately felt a separation from modernity. The first thing we did was enter what the Tap Tap See app says is a Tiki tent? I hadn’t known what they were called, but the huts where the Powahatan Indians would have lived. I really couldn’t help wondering how one lives like that, but at the same time that sort of spartan existence kind of appeals to me. The natives did little inside of those huts but sleep and stay warm, even preparing food outside at private fire pits. Even so, they were so tiny that I, and most people I would imagine, had to duck to enter and exit, and could barely stand up inside.

But then there was the most interesting part, where we were able to board replicas of the ships that sailed from England. Constantine, the largest of the three, would have had 71 persons onboard, which I find mind-boggling! After walking around two of the decks of that and the other two vessels, I know that if I were to try and survive the four-month crossing from England to the colonies I would probably be half dead on arrival. I mean what did they eat? I am reading a book set in Jamestown now, a fictional tale called Dark Enough To See The Stars of a Jamestown Sky by Connie Lapallo, wherein the author states that it is based on the true story of her ancestors’ arrival there. So I anticipate getting a sense of just those sorts of questions.

After making our stumbling way up from those depths, we sauntered over to a table full of what would then have been classed as medical supplies, but actually resembled a toolbox). The woman at that exhibit showed me the crude splint, forceps, and other what would now be considered dangerous items used to operate on people, and especially soldiers, during that time. It was quite interesting.

And after a tour of the mostly inaccessible indoor gallery, she and I had a random stranger snap us standing in front of a fountain as some kid inadvertently intervened. The sound of rushing water was pleasant, if not enticing in those temperatures.

The rest of our day in town mainly consisted of a respite in the hotel from 1 to 3 after enjoying burgers from Sonic, as we did on our Charleston trip. Then off we went to Busch Garden.

Happily for us, the suggested rain showers did not come at all. But the humidity was such that, as previously noted, we still sweat buckets anyway. We also rode in a bucket of a ride that flung us around a bit, one that reminded me of the Wild Bull at Carowinds as it rocked us back and forth aggressively, a giant swing, and the one roller coaster I could get her on. Our final ride was the mach Tower, analogous to Carowinds’ Dropzone, where we rise way up and are flung to the ground. We then retreated into a German restaurant where some sort of live band was playing for the few patrons inside. Then after a boat ride called Cruising the Rhine, she said she needed to go ahead and call it a day. This was clear as we ambled about, trying to find a way out of that monstrosity but getting turned around a time or two. It is an amazing place, divided into countries such as Italy, France and Germany where those cultures are highlighted. I hope to visit again someday.

And that about sums up Williamsburg, in probably the longest entry I have ever written. We had pondered eating in a local spot called The Whaling Company, but a quick look at the prices changed that. They did have some pretty good sounding seafood though. So it was back to our trusty Cracker Barrel, where this time I had Chicken-fried Chicken with the same sides. Hey, you can never go wrong with that! Back with the good stuff whenever the next adventure happens.

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